So this weekend, I did the two things I said I don't do.
Friday, I joined a group ride that started as a FaceBook "come one, come all" invite from Scott Rusinko to hit Heartbreak Ridge. It's a pretty common route to do on New Years Day, being that it's the first day the Old Toll Road reopens through the bear hunting area.
Anyways, I had no idea who all was going to show up, but this is not what happened:
"When I do get those off-"season" rides, I want them to be slower, shorter (in distance), fun, relaxed... not fitness oriented at all."
In the parking lot, I see many people I know. Some I don't. Some of these guys are the ones fighting it out for the King of Pisgah every year. A couple that I found out later are pro road cyclists living in Asheville (not mentioning names because maybe they don't want that?).
So anyways, roll out of the lot, make a turn, make another, stop one turn too late to make sure we're all there... and we lost at least Yuri and the pro roadies, because... oops.
Then up and up and up and the pro roadies ended up sliding in from a trail above us. Serendipity, but no Yuri. The female pro roadie climbed next to me up Rainbow Road for a short period asking me questions... without it affecting her breathing. Who is this person? I'm dying here.
At this point, the ride dynamic changed once again.
I gave it as much as my January 1st body would allow. I see glimpses of them through the trees occasionally until finally, I reached the back of the group.
And then I blew up.
Fortunately, they waited at the overlook before continuing on. I jumped back on with them, only to end up riding alone again, somewhere near the back of the group. Oh yeah, I'm lamenting my gears almost the entire time. I don't know if I've ever climbed Old Toll Road on a geared bike before, but I know how it feels on a SS, and I'm missing it something awful.
We got to the top, and there was Yuri.
All in all, a sweet snowflake of a ride. Probably no place that I would rather be on January 1st.
The other thing I did that I said I don't do, I'll get to it tomorrow.